Not only did Giggs beat the mark he established last term as the oldest UEFA Champions League scorer – now 37 years and 289 days – but the former Wales winger became the first man to score in 16 separate seasons of the competition. It is actually his 17th campaign, and the only time he failed to claim a goal was in his second winning season of 2007/08, when Giggs still managed to convert what proved the decisive shoot-out penalty in the Moscow final against Chelsea FC.
Giggs, who if he registers in the Premier League between now and May will have scored in all 20 seasons since that competition was rebranded, has an English record 12 championship medals among a slew of bests at domestic level, not least the fact that nobody has played more games for Manchester United. Meanwhile in the UEFA Champions League his tally of 127 appearances is bettered only by Raúl González while Giggs has hit 28 goals in all, not to mention two others in qualifying.
United's very first UEFA Champions League group stage goal on 14 September 1994, 33 minutes into their home match against IFK Göteborg, was scored by Giggs, the 20-year-old smashing home from inside the box to equalise. He later struck again in the ensuing 4-2 win, for the first of four games in which Giggs has netted twice in the competition.
It is appropriate, perhaps, that Giggs passed his latest mark with a goal at Benfica, for they are one of only two teams he has registered against in three separate UEFA Champions League matches, the other being Juventus. Just once – in the 2000/01 quarter-final exit to FC Bayern München – have United lost in the competition when their No11 has found the target.
Ryan Giggs's UEFA Champions League goals:
2010/11 – runners-up
Semi-final first leg: W2-0 v FC Schalke 04 (a)
2009/10 – quarter-finals
Group stage: W2-1 v VfL Wolfsburg (h)
2008/09 – runners-up
Group stage: D1-1 v Celtic FC (a)
2007/08 - winners
No goals (scored in final shoot-out v Chelsea FC)
2005/06 – group stage
Group stage: W2-1 v SL Benfica (h)
2004/05 – round of 16
Group stage: W6-2 v Fenerbahçe SK (h)
2003/04 – round of 16
Group stage: W2-0 v VfB Stuttgart (h)
2000/01 – quarter-finals
Second group stage: W2-0 v SK Sturm Graz (a)
Quarter-final second leg: L1-2 v FC Bayern München (a)
1999/2000 – quarter-finals
Second group stage: W2-0 v FC Girondins de Bordeaux (h)
1998/99 – winners
Group stage: D3-3 v FC Barcelona (h)
Group stage: W6-2 v Brøndby IF (a) x 2
Semi-final first leg: D1-1 v Juventus (h)
1997/98 – quarter-finals
Group stage: W3-2 v Juventus (h)
1996/97 – semi-finals
Group stage: W2-0 v SK Rapid Wien (a)
Quarter-final first leg: W4-0 v FC Porto (h)
1994/95 – group stage
Group stage: W4-2 v IFK Göteborg (h) x 2
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